Amazon has the Harry Potter Giftsets on sale today as part of their Black Friday Gold Box promotion Each giftset includes the first six Harry Potter films on DVD or Blu-ray. The Blu-ray giftset is $39.99 ($6.67 per movie) and the DVD giftset is $23.99 ($4 per movie). The regular price is $69.99 and $29.99 respectively. To get in on the deal, click This Amazon Gold Box Link and click on the version you would like to purchase (the original price may still be shown on this page). Click on the version you would like to purchase and the discounted price will be displayed. You can then add the item to your cart and checkout as normal.
For a list of all of Amazon’s Gold Box deals, Click here. They also have Surf’s Up on DVD for $5 and the new Robin Hood on DVD for $8 throughout the day.
I have updated the December 2010 Disney World Crowd Calendar with the changes just made yesterday. You can view the list of changes here. Depending on your browser, you may need to click the image of the Calendar and then click the “refresh button.” You should see Fantasmic scheduled at both 6:30pm and 8pm. If you only see the 6:30pm Fantasmic, go ahead and click refresh. The theme park hours have been extended for many dates throughout December. While you may read that extended hours are an indication that Disney is expecting heavier crowds, that isn’t necessarily true. Disney has extended hours every month this year. They usually make those changes about two weeks prior to the month beginning. For example, February’s hours would be updated in the middle of January. The Park hours at the Magic Kingdom were never going to be 9am to 10pm during Christmas Week, even though that’s what was officially published. The 8am to 12am hours that we have now are in line with past years and indicate that it will, as we already knew, be very busy. With that said, I have raised the estimated crowd level during the week leading up to Christmas slightly. There are also changes to Hollywood Studios because of the addition of Fantasmic on December 19th, 21st, and 23rd. This makes the Hollywood Studios less ideal on those days, but not so much that you need to change your plans if you’ve made dining reservations or already have an itinerary prepared. Hollywood Studios is not “the most recommended Park” any day over Christmas week, though it is recommended several times. This is because there isn’t really a distinct advantage on any particular day because we have long hours and at least two Fantasmic shows scheduled each evening for two weeks. Ideally, we would visit Hollywood Studios when there is a lot going on at other Parks, like evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot.
I will also be making two changes later today. The official dates for ESPN the Weekend are March 3rd through 6th and not February 24th through 27th as posted here back on October 5th. Disney is also promoting ESPN the Weekend with a special package. The popularity of The Weekend has waned a bit in recent years and Disney is pushing it a little harder this year. I will be updating those weeks in February and March with the changes.
I also have the wrong opening date for Star Tours 3D in May. It is currently scheduled for May 17th, not the 16th. As noted on the May Calendar, Disney will likely run “soft openings” prior to the official opening, meaning Star Tours will be running for at least part of the day for a week or more prior to the official opening. Star Tours could also be delayed. We’ll know more as we get closer to May.
A lot of good news for easyWDW and one piece of bad news today. First up is the bad news. My poor 16 year old cousin is in a coma at Seattle Children’s Hospital this afternoon and has been in the hospital for the last thirteen days. I am there now, which is why updates and returned emails have been slow recently. I promise I will catch up and get back to each and every one of you soon. My cousin Jamie came down with a fever and “flu like” symptoms about two weeks ago. When things took a turn for the worse, she was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s, where things began to deteriorate rapidly. She was not getting enough oxygen, which led to cardiac arrest and the need for a ventilator. Her kidneys are not working properly and she is on a dialysis machine. She was just hooked up to what I think is called a cardiopulmonary bypass machine and things are looking “grim” to say the least. She is a lovely girl and if you are the praying type, I would appreciate it if you would add cousin Jamie in Seattle, Washington to your prayers. We are thankful to all the doctors and nurses fighting to keep her alive. We continue to hope for recovery.
In more uplifting news, easyWDW surpassed the 20,000 monthly visitor mark in October, with a total of well over 60,000 unique page views. I appreciate everyone who has told family, friends, and other Disney enthusiasts about this relatively new website.
While I am technically the only person who updates easyWDW, I have a “team” of about 40 friends and family members who tirelessly roam the Disney theme parks, record wait times, compare overall crowds in just about every imaginable situation, and test various “touring plans” I have been concocting. I suppose they also get to ride Space Mountain, eat Mickey Bars, and get harassed by the Toontown Fairies as often as they want, but taking orders from me is a rough job that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Cumulatively, we just passed 1,000 days spent in the Disney theme parks this year (1,000 days divided by 40 people equals about 3 days per in the parks, per person, per month). I have been using this data alongside “insider information” that I’m “not supposed to have” to make the overall crowd calendar estimations and best/worst theme parks to visit even more accurate.
Finally, while I haven’t been as glued to my computer as I would like, there haven’t been any changes to Park hours, Fantasmic schedules, Extra Magic Hours, or anything else since my last update. I am expecting a pretty major update to the December Park hours on Monday November 15th. Additional Fantasmic shows and Main Street Electrical Parades should also be added at that time.
There are a few things coming down the pipeline in the near future. I’ve finally collected enough information to offer some more detail on the crowd calendar. Instead of just recommending/not recommending theme parks to visit each day, I’ll be including “grades” on an A to F scale in various categories, including crowds, wait times, entertainment, hours of operation, and evening “park hoppability.” This will give you a better idea about how much more crowded Magic Kingdom will be when it has extended hours and Main Street Electrical Parade or how low crowds will be at Hollywood Studios in January when it has morning Extra Magic Hour, but no Fantasmic. For example,
Epcot on a Saturday in November during the International Food and Wine Festival:
Wait times: C+
Hours of Operation (No Extra Magic Hours): B
Park Hoppability: B
Hollywood Studios on a Thursday with two Fantasmic shows scheduled at the end of September:
Wait times: C
Hours of Operation: A-
Park Hoppability: B+
Magic Kingdom on a Friday with a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the beginning of November:
Wait times: A-
Hours of Operation: D
Park Hoppability: D-
I haven’t worked out the exact values yet, but it will be on a scale that compares each day to every other day of the year. This will give you a better idea about what you’re up against during Christmas week in December or how crowds increase going into a holiday weekend. For example, the Magic Kingdom from December 25th to 31st for crowds will all be D’s and F’s. It will also make the less crowded times of the year clearer.
The crowd calendar, as it stands, compares each theme park’s crowds on certain days to other days surrounding it. This allows us to find the least crowded days to visit each of the major theme parks, but doesn’t tell us much about the overall touring conditions. Of course, we can look at the overall crowd number and get an idea about what touring conditions will be like, but individual “not recommended” Parks can be much busier than the overall crowd number would suggest. With the individual ratings, the overall touring conditions will be clearer, along with what you’re giving up to visit the Magic Kingdom when it does or doesn’t have an evening parade.
As I insinuated before, I’ve been finalizing a load of touring plans that will be coming out soon as well. Unlike other sites that might have you walking 20 minutes from Tower of Terror to the Backlot Tour and then 20 minutes back to Beauty and the Beast, these touring plans will minimize both wait times and walking in many different touring conditions. They also factor in show times, parades, and a list of attractions that are skipped so that you can edit the plan to include a show that you may want to see more than one that is included in the plan. For those that are not interested in a more militaristic “do this, now this, now this, now this, now this” format, there are also plans that explain which rides are best done in the morning, afternoon, and evening. That way, you can plan your own day based on what you want to do and how you want to do it. The methodology of each plan is also explained, which will give you a better idea about how to change the plan to fit your individual needs.
That’s should do it for now. My Fort Wilderness review is coming up next, but I had to cancel the Swan and Dolphin. Hopefully I can get in later this month.
I have been working on the May 2011 Disney World Crowd Calendar and daily analysis over the last few days. A preview of the calendar portion is below. The Crowd Calendar should be up with full explanations on Friday. I have to double check about 60 pages of language and make sure everything is in line and accurate. You can view the May 2011 Disney World Park Hours by clicking here. The Star Wars Weekend Dates at Hollywood Studios have not been announced or finalized, but are expected to be May 20 – 22 and May 27- 29. Star Tours is tentatively scheduled to reopen on May 16, 2011, but that date is likely to change. For now, I am assuming that Star Tours will reopen as scheduled and Star Wars Weekends will be the dates that are expected. If you are unfamiliar with how to read the crowd calendar below, head over to the November Crowd Calendar, which will give you an idea of what to expect.
Click the Calendar Thumbnail Below and The Image Will Expand to Fit the Screen. If it’s blurry, click the image again to expand it to full size.
You May Also Click Here and the Calendar Will Open in a New Window.
The Calendar is also available in an easy to view and print PDF file, Here
I have updated the December 2010 Disney World Crowd Calendar with the recent updates to the Park hours. The December Calendar is available here. It now offers additional information about touring strategies, as well as an easier to read format. The recommended Parks have not changed significantly and you don’t need to alter your plans if you have already made dining reservations or decided where to go each day. However, you can update your plan with the new hours and the added information that’s available for your dates.
The May 2011 Disney World Crowd Calendar will be coming up next along with a full review of the Fort Wilderness Cabins and Campgrounds, pending I’m not eaten by a bear. Enjoy, and have a good weekend.